Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, declared on Wednesday that the state would support efforts of the Nigerian Air Force to achieve its set objectives and expand its operations in the state.
The governor, who stated this while receiving the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, during the latter’s courtesy visit to the Governor at the State’s Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, added that the state had been enjoying a cordial relationship with the Nigerian Air Force.
A statement by Mr. Taiwo Adisa, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, quoted Makinde as adding that the government was already working on upgrading the infrastructure within and around the Ibadan airport to enhance Air Force’s operations.
The governor stated that his administration had been working on expanding the Ibadan Airport, including the improvement of its runway, donation of Fire Truck and the effort to put a lot of infrastructure around the airport.
He said, “Yes, I brought in Honourable [Segun] Ogunwuyi, who is in charge of the Investment Agency for Oyo State. He is the one championing the effort to expand the airport, the runway and to also put a lot of infrastructure around the airport.
“We are talking about infrastructure to refuel aircraft. Right now, aircraft do not stay here overnight if they need to refuel. Overland (Airways), which has Ibadan as its base, doesn’t actually let its planes stay here overnight because it cannot refuel the planes. So, once we carry out the project we have earmarked, I believe it will be a lot easier to accommodate whatever programme and whatever the Air Force wants to do around here.”
The governor expressed satisfaction with the relationship between the state and the Nigerian Air Force, stating that his government would work on how to keep the relationship going and that it would do more to support the Air Force’s programme in the state.
“We are happy with the relationship between the state, the government and the people of Oyo State and the Nigerian Air Force. Since Group Captain Muhammed came here, he has been a gentleman and officer and has been quite fantastic. So, we are thankful and grateful to him. He is a member of Oyo State Security Council.
“He has always been making valuable contributions to discussions and to Operation Burst, which is the state’s security apparatus that we use.
“We awarded a contract to fix the road between Ife-road through Ajia to the airport because we envisaged that once we push forward with this discussion, and if you bring officers and men here, we want them to stay comfortably and closer to their area of operation. And that is why we are fixing that road. “
He added that it would be a thing of honour for the state to see that the Chief of Air Staff expands the operation of the Air Force.
“It will be an honour for us to be part of that and this government is doing everything possible to make that a reality,” he said.
Governor Makinde, who commended the good result recorded by the Air Force Comprehensive School, Ibadan, in the recently released West African Examination Council’s results, promised that he would ask the Ministry of Works to attend to the electricity needs of the school as solicited by the Chief of Air Staff.
He equally appreciated the Chief of Air Staff for trying to expand the operations of the Air Force in the South-West.
He said, “I know this is a challenging period for us as a country, security-wise, and we want to thank you for looking towards the South-West to expand the footprint of the Nigerian Air Force here. You can count on this government to be a partner in progress and to achieve some of the objectives that you have already set out.
“Please, if there is any other thing you need from us, we will definitely oblige.”
Speaking earlier, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Abubakar, said the visit was to appreciate the governor for uplifting the state within a short period of time.
He said: “Your Excellency, we are really privileged.